View Full Version : Could use some advice...chipsets, mobos, etc.

31st January 2005, 15:11
Hey there.

I'll be updating my old PIII 650 on a BX chipset @ 866 for something a little more current (wonder how many BX overclocks are still out there....probably quite a few chugging along).

Anyway, I'll probably go AMD this time, and since I built this rig 4 years ago I haven't really kept up on chipset evolutions, etc.

So, some council would be appreciated.

I should mention right off that this a budget job -- about £200 total for mobo, cpu, memory and new power supply.

Memory and power supply are easy enough to track down, so mainly I'm just asking about CPU and mobo.

For CPU I'm considering an Athlon XP 2600 or 2800 (Barton Core). This would mean I'm looking for a Socket A mobo.

So, Socket A chipsets? I really would rather not consider VIA, so that would leave SIS or nForce. My instinctive reaction is to avoid nVidia, but looking for SIS based boards I can't seem to find any that have some robust overclocking options (i.e. FSB control, but not independent control for AGP, or lack of memory voltage control, etc.).

So, that would kind of lead me to nForce. That is, if anyone doesn't know of a robust SIS based board (Asrock looked tempting, but some I saw were only in micro or lacking features).

Anyway, let me cut to the chase. Any recommendations for a chipset and board for the processor? Or alternate processor/chipset combos?

I would like to stay about the £50 mark for the mobo and £70 mark for the processor. This is why I'm looking at a Socket A/Barton combo. By the time I upgrade again 939 will probably be an old socket type, so getting in there isn't really a worry.

Oh, another question. Anyone have any knowledge/experience with the ULi (ALi) M1689 chipset? It's an interesting concept allowing for Socket A or Socket 939. The "Asrock K8 Upgrade 1689" looks like a decent board with some decent overclock options, but I have no clue with regards to the chipset.

I tend to stick to Asus for boards, which is why Asrock seemed like a decent budget-oriented choice.

Anyway, any input/advice/recommendations anyone has would be greatly appreciated.


31st January 2005, 18:55
Here's the scope:

Right now we're in the middle of following transitions:

Most of all new motherboards have SATA, so no problem here

This one is interesting. Remember when BX came out and AGP was all the hype. It's similar now, except that you won't be able to reuse your AGP card in PCIe system (except for weird chipsets/boards). So if I were buying motherboard right now I'd strongly consider getting PCI Express board. If you don't game or do 3D stuff, PCIe is not neccessary as most everything you need is integrated and motherboards will still have PCI slots

Though nForce4 is relatively new (intel 925/915 chipset SocketT boards have been arround for a while now) and would be wise to wait past revision1 of motherboards.

My guideline would be:
- If you have a recent SocketA//S478 Athlon or P4 system (2.0 and above) get a new AGP graphic card and wait.
- If you're starting from scratch get PCIe

Intel already has DDR2, while AMD will not go DDR2 for a while at least. Not a big deal, since whatever RAM you buy now won't be reusable when you upgrade.

Currently only Intel supports this, there are few OEM machines and sparse cases and motherboards. As I heard due to AMD processors needing memory close to socket, AMD can't quite support component layout on board so they're staying ATX. Taiwaneese makers also don't like BTX. So BTX will not take off for a year if ever.

x86 (32-bit)->x86-64(64-bit)
64-bit WindowsXP are due in April. Then wait for all drivers to come out and applications taking advantage of it to arrive... IMO to power user (games, graphics) 64-bit will become interesting early next year. Depending on when you plan to upgrade next you can decide on getting or not getting 64-bit CPU.

~80€/55GBP quality stick of 512MB PC3200
~180€/130GBP Asus A8N-SLI nforce4 SLI RAID SB+2GBL+FW+SATA (you might find nF4 board with PCI Express slots without SLI cheaper, however nF4 and SLI are all the rage now and expensive)
~175€/120GBP for Athlon64 3000+ S939 Processor

=~ 435€/305GBP which is over your budget but gives you 64-bit and PCIe

~80€/55GBP quality stick of 512MB PC3200
~90€/62GBP A7N8X nForce2 board(If you want to go cheaper there's Asrock SiS 746FX board - people arround here, including me have had very positive experience with SiS, however the board does not have vcore adjustment in BIOS)
~105€/72GBP Mobile Athlon 2500+ - the enthusiast CPU du jour, people are reporting 2.4GHz overclocks (3400+).

=~275€/189GBP - just within your budget

Normal socketA Athlons are out of channel and are being replaced by Semprons (Duron replacement) - 256kB of L2 cache compared to 512kB o Barton. They are priced OK, however if you plan to overclock Mobile Barton is better.

Socket 754 will become cheapo platform before it's completely phased out and S754 Athlons will be replaced by Semprons, so stay away from it

Things to research:
- nForce2 and 4 support dual channel memory architecture, so you're better off with 2 sticks instead of 1
- there are 2 cores of Athlon64 arround, the 130nm and the 90nm Winchester, you want the latter
- PSUs - if you ever plan on getting GF6800 or Radeon X800 or similar card, you will want at least 480W PSU. Also there is new connector for PCIe graphic cards. Otherwise quality 300-350W should be enough.

1st February 2005, 03:49
Thanks for the breakdown -- very nice. :)

Yeah, unfortunately I really can't wait too much longer -- I'll be looking at doing this in the next couple of weeks. That's why I was looking at a Barton/Socket A combo, as well of course the budget limit.

SATA is a consideration and it would be nice to get a board with support so I can add in a SATA drive in a few months or so.

PCIe isn't so much of a consideration as I won't be replacing my GF3 ti200 for a bit. AGP cards should still be around for a year or two I would think, yes?

64 bit is inticing, but price prohibits that one.

I noticed the Semprons are just basicallyy Athlon XP's with cutdown L2 which is why I figured a Athlon XP Barton would be a better choice. I would imagine they will start to disappear from stock soon as Semprons replace them, so I figure picking one up soon would be necessary.

The mobile Athlon 2500 Barton sounds very interesting. In terms of "bang for buck" it sounds promising if it overclocks as well as you say. I have no experience with mobile chips (never owned a laptop), but I assume it just takes a normal Socket A fitting in a regular Socket A board?

It's a real shame the SIS 746fx doesn't support vcore adjustments as that would have been ideal. Anyone have any overclock results with that board to report?

Anyway, you've helped me narrow things down a bit more, so big thanks for that. :D

EDIT: oh, found this fella: http://www.asrock.com.tw/product/product_k7s8xe+.htm

Looks like they added in overclock options in later revisions (3.0) of K7S8XE and the K7S8Xe+ includes SATA support as well as thos OCing features. Could be a winner here.

1st February 2005, 05:39
I have just upgraded a system to a Sempron 2600+ and a basic msi motherboard and a 9600pro agp with 512 pc2100.
This has everything onboard (vid,net,sound5.1,sata,ata)

It is a nice little system and does run hl2/doom3 at medium resolutions.

You don't need to spend a lot to get good performance nowerdays.


1st February 2005, 06:55
Some of the current Bartons are super locked so this means no changing of multiplier.

Quite a few people had good experience with mobiles arround here (do a search for Mobile Bartons) in single or dual boards. Personally I'm selling my 2500+ regulars and upgrading my TigerMPX to mobiles.